I'm Still Standin' by Jonathan Centeno

eltonjohn-46x56.jpg

It is a celebratory atmosphere that hovers over the Big Smoke this week.  It will end with a bang over the weekend with a huge parade.  A parade that celebrates the diversity that is found in humanity.  An inclusive rather than divisive affair, it shouts out "be yourself" to anyone who'll listen.  Barriers are slowly breaking down.  Acceptance is the key to survival for our species, in my opinion.  We are not going to get off this spec of dirt in the cosmos without reigning in our bitter disputes first.  The pioneers in these movements are often forgotten in the long run, but some of them, because of their sheer talent and courage persist.  Some of them, after the long battle, can actually proclaim that they are still standing...….."I'm Still Standin' ", 56x46 mixed media on panel, available through Hazelton Gallery, Yorkville

Palisades by Jonathan Centeno

Palisades 48" x 40" Acrylic on canvas

Palisades 48" x 40" Acrylic on canvas

Last night I took a walk after dark
A swingin' place called Palisades Park
To have some fun and see what I could see
That's where the girls are

I took a ride on a shoot the chute
That girl I sat beside was awful cute
And after while she was holdin' hands with me
My heart was flyin' up like a rocket ship
Down like a roller coaster
Back like a loop the loop
And around like a merry go round

We ate and ate at a hot dog stand
We danced around to a rockin' band
And when I could, I gave that girl a hug
In the tunnel of love
You'll never know how great a kiss can feel
When you stop at the top of a ferris wheel
When I fell in love down at Palisades Park

We ate and ate at a hot dog stand
We danced around to a rockin' band
And when I could, I gave that girl a hug
In the tunnel of love
You'll never know how great a kiss can feel
When you stop at the top of a ferris wheel
When I fell in love down at Palisades Park
Down at Palisades Park

You know it's Palisades Park
Down at Palisades Park

Ahhh here comes the Summer-enjoy!

New works by Jonathan Centeno

We are happy to present two new Giardini's by Pietro Adamo for the start of the summer. Full Bloom Dream 40"x 60", and Sweet Meadow Dream 36" x 72".  Both pieces are currently available. Contact Erica for more details. 

-Pietro Adamo Gallery

Full Bloom Dream 40" x 60" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Full Bloom Dream 40" x 60" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Sweet Meadow Dream 36" x 72" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Sweet Meadow Dream 36" x 72" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Art Miami New York by Jonathan Centeno

ArtNY_2018_LOGO_social-01-01.jpg

We are pleased to announce that Pietro Adamo's work will be represented at the Art New York(Pier94) show by Hazelton Galleries. Here's a preview of some the works.

The Lost Blond 46" x 56" Acrylic  on wood panel

The Lost Blond 46" x 56" Acrylic  on wood panel

Sir Mick 46" x 56" Acrylic on wood panel

Sir Mick 46" x 56" Acrylic on wood panel

The Getaway 48" x 40"  Acrylic on Wood panel

The Getaway 48" x 40"  Acrylic on Wood panel

New Abstracts by Jonathan Centeno

We are proud to present  two new large abstract pieces from Pietro Adamo. 

mabelleamie60x60.jpg

"Ma Belle Amie"

 

60" x 60" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

grandeepoque60x84.jpg

"Grande Epoque"

60" x 84" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Both pieces are currently available.For more information contact Erica Adamo.

-Pietro Adamo Gallery

Mon Basquiat by Jonathan Centeno

"Mon Basquiat" 40" x 48" Acrylic and mixed media on wood panel

"Mon Basquiat" 40" x 48" Acrylic and mixed media on wood panel

Was he consumed by his demons, this Raphael of the Twentieth century?  Or perhaps the 21st.? He was ahead by a century , to coin the Hip. The tragedy of his brief life is exceeded only by the triumph of his brief life as an important artist.  A liberating, forever young master for the ages whose influence is so evident today, decades after his passing.  We are just now beginning to figure him out- not that we ever will completely.   My humble homage is quiet rather than loud.  Subtle rather than in your face.  Somewhere in his brief existence he may have enjoyed a moment like this.

For more information contact Erica Adamo.

Oratory by Jonathan Centeno

"Oratory" 60" x 84" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

"Oratory" 60" x 84" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

I sometimes visit Montreal for the purpose of meetings or appointments regarding my work.  They often last a couple of hours or so.  On this occasion, I was pleased to personally deliver a piece to a client in Westmount, no too far from one of my favourite places in the city, L'Oratoire S. Joseph.  

Erica and I have made it a point to stop, however briefly, and enjoy the peace and quiet within the dome.  

There are always people, of all creeds and races; religious or simply curious.  Candles being lit, prayers being said, or simply;  life being contemplated.  

It is a special place, the Oratory. Gratitude seems to inhabit the dome. On this occasion, the feeling accompanied me to my studio.

 

Post-Matrix Series: "Oratory", 60x84, acrylic on canvas

"The One That Got Away" by Jonathan Centeno

"The One That Got Away" 40"x48" mixed media on wood panel

"The One That Got Away" 40"x48" mixed media on wood panel

The process that leads to an image is much the same as the journey and the destination.  The struggle that is ART does not accept the benign futility that is the hallmark of the formulaic.  It demands its pound of flesh.  It requires a measure of courage.  

The final image does not necessarily reveal all of the shining moments of triumph and despair in the creative process. Every painter has heard the mantra: "Make it pretty, make it look this way, make it in my colours"  ( I have come across many people who do not want to "think"...they wish not to ponder the piece.)  So what's the living for, then?  

Which brings me to the piece: "The One That Got Away" .  Some dude on a bike with a 'Stang in the background.  Is that a leather bomber? Is that a landscape in the background? Is the bike in the grass?  Is it taken from one of his movies?  Do I know this guy?  Are those little pictures of him over and over again?  Why are there drips?  Is it finished?  Can I take a pic with my phone?

 

Are we there yet???

You get my drift.

 

"The One That Got Away", 40x48 acrylic on wood

Key to the 6ix by Jonathan Centeno

Key to the Six 40" x 48" mixed media on wood panel

Key to the Six 40" x 48" mixed media on wood panel

He patiently awaits the dramatic free throw from the sideline.  He wouldn't have to be here.  Watching a basketball game.  It's minus 10 outside.  He could be anywhere.  Those legendary good deeds out of the studio are the stuff of urban lore.  We  watched him grow up before our very eyes on the seemingly immortal DeGrassi.   His art will continue to be the source of inspiration for upcoming generations.

I enjoy his music as many of us do.  But like all good art, it sometimes can be polarizing.  I suppose I can be forgiven for rooting for someone who represents T.O. so well, with absolute conviction.   The defiant confidence in his pose speaks of a city that has come of age in part due to his efforts.  

Hogtown, The Big Smoke, T.O., have all become synonymous with The Six.

"Key to the Six"  40X48 acrylic on wood panel, Contact Erica for more information.

Speed Demon by Jonathan Centeno

MCQUEEN40X48.jpg

I don't think there is one particular role played by Steve McQueen which embodied all of his work, or his total persona.  Enigmatic has been used to describe him.  I beg to differ.  Papillon became Steve McQueen, as did Bullitt, as did The Great Escape, as did Thomas Crown, as did the Magnificent Seven.  It was always he who devoured the screen.  Like any great portraitist, there was no escaping his own likeness in all of his portrayals.  His art mirrored his life.  Fast, minimal.  Who wouldn't have wanted to have been McQueen for a day?

The wound-up time bomb of a perfect balance between tension and cool.  Unassuming.  The benevolent devil if you will.

The Demon of Speed.

48x40, Coast Gallery, Laguna Beach California

New Year, New Works by Jonathan Centeno

We're proud to present Pietro Adamo's newest abstracts for 2018. For more information please contact Erica Adamo.

-Pietro Adamo Gallery

Post Matrix Series" Chrysalids" 48" x 60" mixed media on canvas

Post Matrix Series" Chrysalids" 48" x 60" mixed media on canvas

"Potenza" 40" x 40" mixed media on canvas

"Potenza" 40" x 40" mixed media on canvas

"Piacenza" 36" x 48" mixed media on canvas

"Piacenza" 36" x 48" mixed media on canvas

Palm Springs Fade by Jonathan Centeno

Palm Springs Fade, 56x46 acrylic on panel  

Palm Springs Fade, 56x46 acrylic on panel 

In the piece "Palm Springs Fade",  the panel has definitely come under some weathering.  The nostalgic colour is reminiscent of a once fresh decade in Palm Springs which has since faded.  Apparently she was discovered there, at the Racquet Club.  As memories fade, they sometimes become gentler, quieter, kinder-more beautiful.  Time is the great enemy-or is it the greatest of friends?  In life, as in wine; aging is a privilege.  So surround your memories with hearts, and if you are lucky enough to always remember, then do so, as often as you can. As the memories fade, tune in to the newly refined colours.  They weren't there in the first place.

They're here now.

 

"Illuminated Manuscript: That's Me in the Corner" by Jonathan Centeno

IMG_1822.jpg

"Illuminated Manuscript: That's Me in the Corner"  56x46 acrylic on panel 2017

Many thanks to Norman for commissioning this piece.  The art journey continues to surprise and delight.  I have had the privilege of meeting many persons from all walks of life sharing in their love of art.  It is always a labour of love.  

Thanks once again to the staff of Select Art Galleries in Newmarket.

Ciao, Norman, Mille Grazie!

Alla Prossima,

Pietro

Commute by Jonathan Centeno

Commute: Arrivo  48" x48" mixed media on canvas

Commute: Arrivo  48" x48" mixed media on canvas

The legendary traffic that is now part of Toronto lore ( I'm being kind here) is something I was happy to avoid by being located in the satellite town of Kleinburg (a "burb" by any other name...).   Lately, we have been making the trip into the downtown core as often as possible to visit our grandson who thinks he's six months old, but is only six weeks old.  New grandparents understand the allure, or perhaps the addiction.  Nothing can stop you from getting your fix.  So you tolerate the congested roadways, and chalk up an hour and 19 minutes as a new record time.  No problem.  The little guy is worth it!  

I never know where inspiration comes from for my painting, but it is evident in the two pieces presented here that in the Commute, the return journey is somewhat less frantic than the journey to get there.  The tapestry-like pieces are an indication of the fragmented nature of the city.  It should not, but somehow does, hold together.  The blurred geometry passes by one's eyes as one concentrates on the drive ahead. On a streetcar or bus, the experience is different, but the same frenetic pace is clearly evident.  Toronto, my place of birth, and the city where my children choose to live.  My home.  I will not use this blog to eschew all of the good that there is in this city- that goes without saying but allow me if I may:

World class, my ass. (It was hard to resist this little rhyme, so please forgive me)

World class only to real estate agents.  I will only give one example here as to why it is not world class as it pertains to art.

Frank Gehry, a Toronto son, a world-renowned architect has pure examples of his vision all over the truly world-class cities on this planet where they let his vision become reality.  Unhinged. Without reservation.  His architecture is sometimes the sole reason to visit a city.  The structures have become attractions.  They can bring the world to your door.

In T.O., they allowed him a piece of the action in the Art Gallery of Ontario redesign.  A little bit of Gehry yes, but not the whole thing- that would be too much!  Frank, here's the cash, but we'll tie your hands and blindfold you- now g'head....

Commute: Ritorno 48" x48" mixed media on canvas

Commute: Ritorno 48" x48" mixed media on canvas

It takes time to go from Wonderbread to Ciabatta and Naan.  Acquired tastes.  It appears to some, because of our multicultural mosaic, that we are already there, and that we are open to almost anything.  We are getting there, but we are not there yet.  The ingredients are there, but like a good minestrone, they must simmer, and that takes time.  

A little bit of Gehry will have to suffice for now.  In the meantime, enjoy the commute as there is much to see.

California Dreamin' by Jonathan Centeno

Balboa 60" x 60" mixed media on canvas

Balboa 60" x 60" mixed media on canvas

Coronado 60" x 60" mixed media on canvas

Coronado 60" x 60" mixed media on canvas

I make it a point to rush into my studio the day after coming home from any trip.  I find that painting based on fresh recall is exciting as it reveals colour and feeling still vivid in my mind.  

Such is the case for the pieces completed after an August excursion to Southern California.  I was there on business, but in Palm Springs, Laguna and La Jolla, one cannot help but mix business with pleasure.  I hadn't been to this part of the state prior, although I had derived plenty of inspiration from previous visits to the Golden State.  

The titles of the 60x60 canvases (Balboa, Coronado) are all too familiar as they are prominentin San Diego.  The colour and textures in the canvases are as I bring them into focus in my mind's eye after the fact. The landscape and structures within it have been deconstructed to expose my abstract truth.  If you've been, you probably, but not necessarily better understand the "language of the paintings".  

 There is plenty of fodder for the initiation of a fresh batch of Icons in Southern Cal (Frank Sinatra, Elvis in Palm Springs, and Marilyn in Coronado where "Some Like It Hot" was filmed), and so stay tuned, but the first pieces to come out of that jaunt are large abstracts.  

Perhaps the true star of California will always be its geography. It can be hurt by, but never overshadowed by anything man attempts to throw at it. This is especially clear from the summit of Mount San Jacinto.

Balboa, 60x60 mixed media on canvas, and Coronado, 60x60 mixed media on canvas, 2017

Icons Series by Jonathan Centeno

"Stardust Marilyn" 46" x 56" mixed media on wood panel

"Stardust Marilyn" 46" x 56" mixed media on wood panel

I am often asked about the inspiration behind the techniques employed in my Icon Series.

Let me begin by stating emphatically that there is no formulaic technique followed.  Each piece charts its own course. The common elements are found simply in the materials used- often, but not necessarily always.  Again, each is a work of art, independent, and new.  The quantities will be low, and when I am fine with having explored the series to my satisfaction, I will move on.  

I want to give some insight as to the roots of the "technique".

"Come Fly With Me" 46" x 56" mixed media on wood panel

"Come Fly With Me" 46" x 56" mixed media on wood panel

As a 62 year old, I recall the worn hand-painted signs that were everywhere in my city of Toronto in the sixties and early seventies.  Having spent much of my childhood in my grandfather's and father's grocery stores on Dundas, and Oakwood, and Yarmouth and finally Rogers road, I was surrounded by painted signs.  It wasn't long before I was actually making them for the family business.  They allowed me a break from the mundane work of filling empty shelves with cans of beans and packages of pasta.  

My earliest recollection is of one of my uncles using shorthand to make a sign for a special on "cantaloupes".  He was pretty good with a marker, and his sign for "Loupes", 2 for 1 on sale is forever etched in my memory.  

I lived on Christie Street and walking home from Essex Street Public School meant passing by the Gibson Broom Company, with its many painted, worn signs which showed evidence of having been re-painted at least five or six times.  The old colours seeped through, and at times, you could see evidence of the previous sign.  One happened to be an ad for Seven-Up in a previous incarnation.  So cool.  The passage of time.

So that's it.  That's where the visual reference comes from.  It's funny, but in recalling these memories, I only remember sunshine.

Enjoy the Icon Series while it lasts.

"King's Wheels" 46" x 56" mixed media on wood panel

"King's Wheels" 46" x 56" mixed media on wood panel

The Nuclear Dali of Turin (presented by S. Hawking) by Jonathan Centeno

Nuclear Dali of Turin (presented by S.Hawking) 46" x 56" mixed media on wood panel.

Nuclear Dali of Turin (presented by S.Hawking) 46" x 56" mixed media on wood panel.

Salvador Dali was and still is, sublime, ridiculous.  If you are an artist working quietly in your studio, trying to make heads or tails of imagery involving Dali, he haunts you.  It's as if he is still calling the shots.  He chooses what stays and what goes.  Literally.  

I was working on an image late one evening in my new studio when I suddenly decided to scrap it.  The piece involved imagery of the major events and people that shaped the twentieth century collectively forming a "portrait" of Dali.  I was not pleased to say the least.  I had spent 12 hours on it.  I took the hose to it.  As the water hit the wood panel, what emerged was a very haunting image.  The paint should have come off evenly.  After all, the layers had hardly enough time to dry.  I had them all in there- historical figures, giants of the 20th century including Picasso, Warhol, Einstein and others.  The only figure that survived the onslaught is found on the bottom left.  I couldn't hack it off even if I tried.

Isn't that just like Dali?  The only figure he decided to hang with on this particular piece happened to be the greatest mind of the century.  All others were not worthy.  Dali, in his "humble" way would have wanted to leave the accident as it happened.  He would have acknowledged that perhaps a higher power was worth mentioning as witness to the happening (hence Turin, as in Shroud).  

I'm pretty sure I didn't have much to do with this piece.

 

Nuclear Dali of Turin (presented by S. Hawking) 56x46 mixed media on wood panel